Erzia, Stepan Dmitrievich

Er’zia, Stepan Dmitrievich


(also S. D. Nefedov). Born Oct. 27 (Nov. 8), 1876, in the village of Baevo, in what is now Ardatov Raion, Mordovian ASSR; died Nov. 24, 1959, in Moscow. Soviet Russian sculptor.

Er’zia studied in icon-painting studios in Alatyr’ and Kazan and, from 1902 to 1906, at the Moscow School of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture under S. M. Volnukhin. From 1906 to 1914 he lived in Italy and France, where he was influenced by A. Rodin. From 1919 to 1925 he took part in the implementation of the plan for monument propaganda; among his projects was a monument to V. I. Lenin.

In 1926, Er’zia moved to Argentina, where he lived until 1950. In this period he worked primarily with wood, such as algarroba and quebracho. He romanticized the human figure, striving to impart heroic qualities to his subjects, as in Beethoven (1929) and L. N. Tolstoy (1930; both in the Russian Museum, Leningrad). In his representations of women he sought to create a lyric expression of beauty. Er’zia worked without sketches or preliminary studies. He preserved the effects of the natural textures and shapes of the wood and other materials that he used.

Er’zia was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor.


Stepan Er’zia. Leningrad, 1975.
[Dorfman, N. A.] Katalog proizvedenii S. D. Er’zi. Saransk, 1969.